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Mobile Government services launched in Bahrain

Bahrain's e-Government services can now be accessed through mobile phones and service centres being launched across the country.The mobile portal and common service centres (CSCs) are the latest channels being used to provide government services to the public.

The mobile e-Government services and common service centres (CSCs) were launched by Cabinet Affairs Minister and Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology member Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatala Al Khalifa and e-Government Authority (eGA) chief executive officer Mohammed Al Qaed on Saturday May 23, 2009.

The launch, at a Press conference at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa, is in line with Bahrain's e-government strategy and Vision 2030.The eGA will offer 200 basic services through four channels - the e-government national portal, mobile portal, CSCs and the National Call Centre.To date, 90 e-services are available through the national portal (, with the rest set to be launched at various stages until 2010-end.'Launching the mobile portal and CSCs are two of the basic components of e-government vision,' said Shaikh Ahmed.

'By offering government e-services through multiple easy-to-access delivery channels, everyone is included, regardless of education, income, gender, age or nationality, with the aim to achieve quality and integration with a focus on customer satisfaction.' He said providing e-services through multiple channels was part of the leadership's keenness and aspirations of the people to improve government services and make them available for everyone.

These must also be of the highest quality standards and effectiveness to facilitate transparency, efficiency and economic growth, he said. 'According to the latest figures, mobile penetration in Bahrain stands at 119 per cent, which is considered to be very high. 'We have ensured that we offer e-services to people through this popular channel which they are very familiar with so that they gain maximum ease of use and benefit.' He said the mobile portal would allow anyone with a mobile phone to communicate with all government entities and avail of their services.

The services, which have been specifically engineered for mobile phones, are accessible through a mobile version of the national portal to WAP-equipped phones, in addition to other services available through text message. The initial phase of the mobile portal will include 11 basic government services, with 39 more to be rolled out by year's end, taking the total to 50. The key services include enquiries regarding electricity bills and traffic contraventions, daily price index, flight information, school examination results and registration of complaints to government bodies.

As for CSCs, Shaikh Ahmed said they targeted the segment of society, which preferred low-tech e-government solutions. 'The centres will be strategically located across the kingdom to spare customers time and effort of going from one ministry to another and reduce traffic congestion and queues.' Fifteen centres will be set up in post offices and community centres throughout the country. The first, at the Budaiya Post Office, officially begins its operations today.

The CSCs will allow people to access any government service through an official who will represent all government bodies. In addition, the centres will have e-service platforms (or e-kiosks), which are machines that resemble and work much in the same way as ATMs, allowing customers to complete their own e-services. Mr Al Qaed said the launch of the two channels was another step towards facilitating public access to government services.

'These channels are innovative methods to benefit from government services and deliver them to our customer base which bridges the gap between government and the general public, in line with Vision 2030.' The launch comes ahead of the Bahrain International e-Government Forum 2009 to be held at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre from tomorrow until Wednesday. It will be held under the patronage of Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, who is also chairman of the supreme committee. The forum is being organised by the eGA in co-operation with the Bahrain Society of Engineers, the Bahrain Information Technology Society and the Bahrain Internet Society.

It is expected to be attended by of international e-government leaders and decision-makers, UN and government information communication technology experts, specialised technology societies and private sector representatives. The two main topics to be discussed are challenges in implementing e-service portals for public use and e-governance and the citizen.

Source: Trade Arabia
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